Cheryl Zapata

Given the extraordinary regulatory and political challenges facing career education, what improvements/innovations does the sector need to implement to remain a leader in higher education?

In the context of regulatory and political challenges, we as a sector – now more than ever in history – need to constantly improve our communications with policymakers. It is evident in my visits with our congressional members and their staff that they are truly interested in serving. However, they need a better understanding of the real impact private sector schools, colleges and universities have on our communities. We have an extraordinarily effective business model and a great story. We just need to have a stronger, louder voice.

Please explain the innovations you’ve brought to (or observed in) career education. What led you to recognize the need for these innovations? What has been their impact on students and higher education?

Dawn Career Institute (DCI) is diligent about relationship engagement. We’re always looking for opportunities for our students, whether through our Ministry of Caring training agreement, our Wilmington University articulation agreement, the annual Mud Run, a community walk event or social media. It’s a part of DCI culture. As an organization, our antennae are up seeking opportunities to engage our students and graduates in events that ultimately develop relationships that lead them to a job, career or continuing education. Student success and realization of opportunities is the result of our continual engagement.

What quality about career colleges or their students motivates you personally?

It is the tenacity of our schools and our students that inspires me. The passion for our mission – recently in the face of adversity – which, simply put, is changing lives, one student at a time.

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